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Publishing revenues post-Harry Potter vanish September 26, 2008

Harry Potter fans are undoubtedly feeling a void since for the first time in years, there’s no new Harry installment to look forward to.

Meanwhile, American publisher Scholastic Corp. is apparently feeling the void in a perhaps less emotional but no less painful way.

According to a Forbes report yesterday, the children’s book publisher reported a loss of $49.1 million, or $1.30 per share, compared with a loss of $2.8 million, or 7 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

“Scholastic Corp. said Thursday its fiscal first-quarter loss widened compared with a year-ago period that benefited from a new Harry Potter book,” writes Associated Press writer Michelle Chapman.

The final book in J.K. Rowling’s blockbuster series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7), reportedly generated $240 million in revenue that quarter.

Chapman writes that Scholastic President and Chief Executive Richard Robinson promises there’s fiscal life after Harry, citing new book franchises “The 39 Clues”, starting with The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1), and new Young Adult title The Hunger Games as performing well.

Fortunately, Hollywood is actually helping out us clingers-on with at least some new movie versions to anticipate, so maybe it’s not so bad they decided to postpone Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until next summer.

And J.K. Rowling can’t seem to quite let go either, fortunately, with her spin-off The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition.

Those whose little fans can’t say goodbye to Harry even after reading the entire series several times over also shouldn’t forget ancillary tomes like the Harry Potter Schoolbooks Box Set: From the Library of Hogwarts: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Quidditch Through The Ages. This collection, which at least gives more dimension to the world of Harry and friends, was released some years back but may have gotten lost in the shuffle of the new series installments that were coming out.

Meanwhile, Scholastic may never equal much less top the magical fiscal benefits Harry brought, but I hope they’re at least appreciative of the amazing coup of having been his creator’s stateside publisher.

posted by Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will Treasure Forever

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